Developer:Pik Pok Games
Release Date:February 10, 2010
Summary:Silly, frivolous, giddy, all wrapped in one blue bird named Gerald and his red and white rockets.
I love meaningless games. I had my tea this morning, black tea, with milk and honey – the only way to drink tea – walked the dog, had a hearty breakfast of homemade buckwheat granola and almond milk, a handful of kale chips from the night before, and my daily vitamin D and fish oil, thrown back in the gullet with some chewable vitamin C. After putting away my dishes I opened up my latest, untainted issues of The New Yorker, another brew of tea wafting at the ready and I thought to myself, in what way could I possibly make the start of this day better? Well, there’s only one answer for that: reading Asif’s latest SinLetter article on the iPad. Okay, that was a shameless name drop, but unlike BirdStrike, which I’m about to review, his article is brimming with an intellectual curiosity and predilection for all things progressive and entrepreneurial. BirdStrike by Pik Pok Games is anything but intellectual, but it does make for an excellent rounding out of my otherwise sickeningly healthy morning.
The game opens with a swingy rockabilly number that makes you want to dress in four inch heels, skintight black pants, and pizazz your way around a dimly lit red room, with all the rancorous excitement of a zoot-suit wearing, fedora-donning band, of course. The music conveys well the rush of the game, because all BirdStrike entails is you shooting a bug-eyed blue bird through the sky – flung, at first, from a tightly bound trapeze wire, and then literally skyrocketed up, up and away, into the clouds and beyond, collecting seeds and other points along the way. The blue bird, with all his unassuming birdie air, is completely willing to put his pea-sized birdie brain into danger, slamming into objects both on the way up and down, and just generally willing to put his life in your hands. I thought his name funny, and in some odd way, fitting for a classic bird who might otherwise be named the cliche Birdie, Petey, or Chickie – his name is Gerald.
When Gerald is launched from the bottom of the screen, you’ll notice a row of red and white striped rockets right above him. As you fling Gerald into the air, he straps on one of these rockets to launch himself quickly up, where the rocket eventually fizzles, and you must make the quick decision to either steer him toward another rocket plugged stationary up there, or steer Gerald as he’s falling down to one of the rockets left below. Steering Gerald is just a matter of tilting your iPhone left and right, and to make matters easier when a rocket fizzles, he flutters stationary for a moment, before pitching his head down and plummeting in a nosedive toward the ground. Gerald, for all aristocratic, dated names, is one daring fellow.
Just when you think you’ve successfully maneuvered Gerald into the safe, upper reaches of the sky, you encounter a UFO, with green lights and one, extendable, robotic arm, that shoots Gerald with one ZZAPP, turning him into a burning ball of green and yellow flames. But, take no pity on your keen, feathered friend. Gerald takes this as an opportunity to destroy any hindrances on the way down, a bit like an act of revenge – you earn points by colliding the burning Gerald with scaffolding, and other things that he would, in his normal blue-feathered state, bump his head upon. 300 points are earned for each object you destroy, which rewards you more than all the eggs you collect, which are 200 points apiece. The best way to earn points in this game is to steer Gerald clear of any obstacles – the game awards you a whopping 2600 points for a certain chunk of time spent in clean flight.
Other than the flying around, the rockets, the bumping of Gerald’s head, and his transformation into a ball of fury, there’s not much to this game. If you’re looking for more levels, more action, more complexity, please look elsewhere. Birdstrike is straightforward meaningless, in the best way possible. You launch a bird, you pay attention, avoid obstacles, try to rack up points, and enjoy the highly pleasing graphics and sound effects. It’s silly, frivolous, and giddy wrapped in one blue bird. Didn’t I tell you it was a good way to start the morning?